The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East, Nick Foles was named the Pro Bowl offensive MVP, and LeSean McCoy won the 2013 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year Award.
Nonetheless, there are holes that need to be filled if the Eagles plan on contending with the likes of the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks, along with the rest of the competitive NFC.
This year’s draft features a variety of talented offensive players that the Eagles will be targeting with their 22nd pick. Wide receivers such as Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans are atop the list. However, an already inconsistent Eagles defense will be losing multiple defensive players to free agency and the draft may not be enough to fill those voids.
Safety Nate Allan had a career high 94 tackles in 2013 and played in all 16 games alongside safety Curt Anderson, who blossomed on special teams as the leading tackler. Both are free agents and the Eagles’ secondary will need to be rejuvenated.
Buffalo Bills’ safety Jairus Byrd and 49ers safety Donte Whitner are also testing the free agency market and could serve as upgrades if the Eagles are able to land either one of them.
Whitner is a ball hawking safety that was a big part of the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive success this season and Byrd is a Pro Bowler who the Bills are going to do everything in their power to re-sign.
What the Eagles have to offer, however, is a team that is on the rise and that is going to win for years to come. The pieces are almost in place in Philly, which is an intriguing asset.
B.J. Raji would also be a significant signing, if the Eagles were able to land the 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive tackle. Raji turned down an offer from the Packers, so he is clearly searching for a new home after coming off one of his worst seasons ever. Raji did not record a single sack through all 16 games, but has always been a run stopping force.
The Eagles need help defending the pass, but a stouter run defensive, with the addition of Raji, could in retrospect, have an even bigger impact on opposing aerial attacks.
The largest fish in the sea of free agency this offseason is Redskins’ linebacker, Brian Orakpo. Orakpo has been sidelined with injuries over the past couple of seasons, but bounced back in 2013, recording 10 sacks.
A top tier pass rusher is a hot commodity in today’s NFL. The best defenses apply the most pressure to the quarterback.
Orakpo is going to command a fairly large sum of money this off-season, whether the Eagles are willing to out bid the Redskins, along with many other teams who will surely partake in the Orakpo sweepstakes, is the real question.